Math-Challenged Sheriff Joe Arpaio Can't Account for the $41 Million He's Cost Taxpayers
Nothing makes this mallard madder than Tyra Banks after someone's said her booty's too big than having the truth-twisters over at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office call The Bird and his fellow New Times scribes liars. Fabulous thunderbirds! We don't need to make up anything about this county's top constable. The truth is far worse than whatever we can imagine, 'cept maybe four more years of Nickel Bag Joe.
See, reporter John Dickerson's cover story "Inhumanity Has a Price" (December 20), part of New Times' "Target Practice" series, called Sheriff Joe Arpaio out as the most-sued Sheriff in the United States, costing county taxpayers a whoppin' $41.4 million in lawsuit-related money because of the inhumane conditions in his jails and the numerous in-custody deaths occurring in them.
Even if you don't give a hummingbird's heinie about how prisoners are treated in Joe's gulags, you should at least care that such cases vacuum moolah out of your wallet. Well, unless you're a complete Arpaio-suckup. You know, like the faux-journos at KPNX Channel 12.
These fourth-estate nimrods did a short news segment on Dickerson's cover story, asking MCSO flack Paul Chagolla for a comment. Chagolla, or "Chicken Little" as he's known at MCSO HQ, spewed a non-denial denial.
"Most of what the New Times says are lies and innuendos," squawked Chagolla. "We won't dignify this with a response."
If Channel 12's fourth-estaters had bothered to check it out for themselves, they could've easily found that all the numeral facts came from federal court dockets and from Maricopa County Risk Manager Peter Crowley.
In response to a query from New Times, Crowley sent records covering payouts during Joe's tenure.
"For the period January 1, 1993, to [November 29, 2007], the county has paid $30,039,928.75 on Sheriff Department General Liability claims," state the docs. "This figure includes all payments, attorney fees, other litigation expenses, settlements, payments on verdicts, etc."
Additionally, New Times asked Crowley how much the lawsuit insurance policy that also covers the sheriff has cost taxpayers. Crowley croaked, "The county has paid for General Liability coverage for the period 3-1-95 to 3-1-08 total premiums of $11,345,609.50."
Keep in mind that this liability coverage figure is high, in part, because of all those lawsuit payoffs to relatives of dead inmates.
From 1995 to 1998, the county paid $328,894 a year for an insurance policy with a $1 million deductible.
Today, Maricopa County pays a yearly premium of $1.2 million for outside insurance with a $5 million deductible. For any lawsuit that costs $5 million or less, the county foots the entire bill. It's the best policy the county can buy because of Arpaio's terrible track record.
This truculent tweeter knows adding is, like, real hard for the county's top law dawg and his goons, but even a freakin' fourth-grader can punch $30.04 into a calculator, press the plus sign and add $11.35 to get the figure of $41.39 million, then round that out to $41.4.
The Bird's beginning to understand why the Sheriff's Office is waist-deep in its own sea of red ink. The MCSO doesn't have a calculator! All the time they've been tryin' to do their maths like Jethro Bodine in The Beverly Hillbillies. You know, with their fingers and toes. Once you get into them millions, with all them "aughts," you start to run outta protuberances.
The week Dickerson's story ran, this feathered fiend caught up with the county's numerically challenged top cop near M.D. Pruitt's Home Furnishings, where he was holding court among a gaggle of dentally challenged nativists. The Bird hollered at Joe, asking him, "Hey, when are we taxpayers getting our $41 million back?"
Joe first derided our accounting skills, telling us math wasn't our strong suit, then claimed, "That was because of CHS, not me," CHS being Correctional Health Services, the county entity that provides healthcare to inmates.
Bzzzzzt. Wrong again, Grecian Formula head!
The lawsuit figure does not include CHS. Perhaps Joe forgot to take his Alzheimer's medicine that day. Or could it be that he really doesn't know how much he's cost taxpayers? Come to think of it, Chief Deputy David "Jabba the Hutt" Hendershott — the guy who really runs the MCSO — likely doesn't bother ol' Joe with such nigglin' details.
Now on to the figure mentioned in the Dickerson piece of 2,150 "prison condition" lawsuits since 2004. Anyone with two licks of sense can go online at pacer.psc.uscourts.gov, or dockets.justia.com, enter "Arpaio" into the federal court docket, then count the lawsuits that name "prison conditions" as the cause. Count back to 2004, and as of mid-December, that number was more than 2,150.
The same search for the top jail custodians in L.A., New York, Chicago, and Houston nets a total of only 43 "prison condition" lawsuits.
Remember, those 2,150 lawsuits against Arpaio are only in federal court. There are hundreds more listed online with the Maricopa County Superior Court, at superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/civilcourtcases/.
This heron can only hope that if no one at the MCSO can do the math, maybe the voters can. Meanwhile, The Bird will be counting the days until the general election for sheriff.
PEARCE THE PUNK
This dastardly dodo was right disappointed to read in the East Valley Tribune that racist Republican state Representative Russell Pearce punked out of a possible throwdown with Congressman Jeff Flake this year in the AZ CD-6 Republican primary. Why disappointed? Because the Taloned One was looking forward to watching the Paleolithic Pearce get his ass handed to him on a platter.
The troll-like Pearce, who gets his jollies playing bully toward Mexican immigrants and passing insane state statutes like the AZ employment sanctions law, meant to "shrink" AZ's economy, couldn't run with the big dawgs, especially a congressional incumbent as well-spoken and rico suave as Flake.
Republican insiders consulted by The Bird speculated that Pearce had, so far, raised only a fraction of the campaign war chest of $750K Flake already has. In addition, despite Pearce being buds with party chairman Randy Pullen, the state party was not prepared to support the Mesa muttonhead in a divisive bid against Flake.
Asked months ago about the Pearce for Congress Exploratory Committee, one upper-echelon Republican told this wing-man, "You watch. Pearce will go explore some other possibilities."
Pearce told the Trib that, "It's just not a good time for me and my family." Aww, Russ, did you hear your mama callin' too?
In the Trib item, Pearce fumed against Flake's support of compromise immigration legislation, and spewed that he could've beaten the libertarian-minded representative.
Heh. It's one thing when you're picking on poor Mexican migrants, devising ever-new and sadistic ways of punishing them for crossing the border to pick our vegetables, clean our hotels, and cook our food. It's another thing entirely when you have to take on someone who's younger, better looking, better liked, and smarter.
Like Pearce, Flake's a conservative, a GOP stalwart, and a Mormon, but unlike Pearce, Flake's not an embarrassment to those labels.
Pearce hates Mexicans so much that he's now turned to ways of taking it out on their kids. In defiance of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which holds that all "persons" born on American soil are American citizens, he wants the Legislature to forbid hospitals from issuing birth certificates for babies born in the U.S. to migrant parents.
Pearce's bigotry is also apparent from his affiliation with neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, and in circulating an e-mail back in '06 from the National Alliance. Pearce's tried pooh-poohing his relationship with Ready, who has a page on NewSaxon.com, "an online community for whites, by whites," and who recently was photographed demonstrating at a neo-Nazi rally in Omaha, Nebraska.
As this beak-bearer predicted, Ready's turning into Pearce's Willie Horton, a neo-Nazi albatross Pearce may never get off his neck, especially since The Bird photographed the pair working an anti-immigration event together last June (see "Racist Daisy- Chain," November 22, 2007).
Recently, right-wing talk-radio station 550 KFYI got in on the action, when during a morning show, conservative host Barry Markson, filling in for über-right-wing alter kocker Barry Young, questioned Pearce's judgment in not disassociating himself from the two-ton turd reicher Ready. Pearce himself called in toward the end of the hour, telling Markson that Ready meant well, despite being a white supremacist, and that, furthermore, Ready had been following him around during that demo in June.
What a crybaby! And this is the guy who wants children to suffer because of their undocumented parents? Pearce won't own responsibility for his unsavory pals, or his own cowardice in not facing off against Flake. He doesn't deserve to represent a tree stump, much less the 6th Congressional District. Or his District 18 statehouse seat, for that matter.
Just when The Bird thought he'd never have to write about Anderson's Fifth Estate again, owner Tom Anderson up and converts his staid '80s danceteria into a revamped gay club called Club Forbidden.
This cock-of-the-rock hasn't been so confused since Neil Patrick Harris, a.k.a. Doogie Howser, revealed he was a bun-tosser. Though, as Jerry Seinfeld once famously opined, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
Indeed, any way you slice that wiener, Forbidden's a step up culturally from Anderson's, which since this vulture's been in the Valley, has mostly catered to liquored-up fortysomethings trolling for a hook-up. Any alternative to that crowd is more than welcome.
But what the eff was the last year-plus about if Anderson's was gonna go all Tim Gunn on us in the end? Sheesh, first, Anderson kicks transgender activist Michele de LaFreniere et amis out of his club because someone was peeing standing up in the gal's bog. Then he kvetches up a storm as de LaFreniere and her fellow trannies picket the place. Eventually, de LaFreniere hits Anderson with a discrimination complaint, and Anderson bitches about lawyer fees.
Over the summer, Anderson cancels a gig at the last minute by Psychic TV — whose lead singer, Genesis P-Orridge, is transgender — because of the ruckus he thinks it will cause. (The clueless Anderson didn't know Psychic TV from Aerosmith, it seems.)
In November, there's a truce in the tranny toilet wars, and Anderson makes the supposedly grand gesture of turning a single-use pissoir on his premises into an all-sexes stall. In turn, de LaFreniere drops the discrimination complaint with Attorney General Terry Goddard's office.
Then shortly after Xmas, Anderson's becomes a gay club, making the whole controversy seem as retarded Snoop Dogg's new reality show. (Hey, Snoop ain't no Ozzy Osbourne!)
The Bird called Tom Anderson to ask why all this dumbass drama when he was gonna end up goin' gay anyhow. But Anderson's not returning calls.
What this ornery oriole's sayin' is, if it's a gay club, do you reckon anyone's gonna be complaining about some trans person pullin' down his/her pantyhose to pee?
The Bird wasn't the only one Tom Anderson wasn't calling back. Robden Brethauer, promoter of the monthly Britpop night Panic!, told this seed-eater that he still had a night booked at the club but had to hear about the changeover through the media.
Brethauer believes the whole situation's got to do with desperation. Anderson's business was down, and gay was the only way left to go.
DJ William "Fucking" Reed, the guy who had booked Psychic TV into Anderson's this summer and had to work his ass off to get them another spot to play, concurred.
"The only thing that I see that makes sense is that his business is suffering," said Reed. "So he's trying to tap into a market he had yet to tap in into."
As for Anderson's employees? Let go, according to Club Forbidden GM Kelley Lyke. "Their services were no longer needed," she tutted. Lyke said that the switch in orientation had been in the works since "a couple of months ago."
Here's a suggestion for de LaFreniere. Anderson still owns another club in Scottsdale, called the Upper Deck Sports Grill. This parakeet doesn't know what the potty situation there is, but surely it, too, needs some transgendered action.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.